Fishing Flies Painting: Megan Boyd’s Beauty

Fishing flies painting: Megan Boyd's Beauty (watercolour 15 x 10 cm)
Megan Boyd’s Beauty (watercolour 15 x 10 cm)

The next episode in my research for the Fishing Flies Painting series involved a little discovery. In conversation with a friend who fishes, I learned about Megan Boyd – an eccentric Scottish woman who lived a austere life in the Highlands, and created the most complicated, wondrous fishing flies.

Her fishing flies are in museums and collections all over the world, and she famously turned down a request from the Prince’s aide who, on behalf of his royal employer, asked for a few little fishing fly gems in a hurry. She was going to a Scottish dance that night.

Megan Boyd never charged more than £1 for the flies she made, which now change hands for £1000 or more. She died in 2001 a the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy of delicate beauty.

Fishing Flies Painting Series so far:

– Purple and Black Beaded Woolly Bugger

– General MacArthur

This painting is part of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge and is for sale on Running With Brushes in aid of Care for Casualties.

Fishing Flies Painting: General MacArthur

Fishing flies painting: General MacArthur (watercolour 15 x 10 cm)
General MacArthur (watercolour 15 x 10 cm)

This is the second in my fishing flies painting series for Running With Brushes.  I’ve been researching the subject online and talking to friends who fish. There are so many different types of fishing fly, I’m going to be spoiled for choice.

This particular fly is called General MacArthur by Darren MacEachern and Carrie Stevens – the red, white and blue, with the yellow and black flash make the US military theme quite clear. I found the painting of it a little challenging because I wasn’t in my studio so I didn’t have the brushes I would normally use.

The other Fishing Flies Painting in series so far:

Purple and Black Beaded Woolly Bugger

More tomorrow!

Fishing Flies Painting: Purple and Black Beaded Woolly Bugger

fishing flies painting in watercolour
Purple and Black Woolly Bugger (watercolour 15 x 10cm)

So here it is: the first of the fishing flies painting. In yesterday’s post I mentioned that painting a damsel fly had led me on to an idea for a new series and this is it.

Sometimes inspiration for a subject is a bit like that word association game families play on long car journeys. I started with painting wings as an exercise in mastering strokes with a round brush, wings led me to flying insects, which led me on to fishing flies. And they have such great colours, they are a dream of a subject for a watercolourist.

Fishing Flies Painting Series

It was only a while after I had finished this painting that I remembered having seen a fishing flies painting somewhere else. Eventually, I managed to squeeze my brain enough to remember where it was: fellow 100 Wash Challenge artist, Christy Lemp posted a picture of a gorgeous fishing flies paintings on her website in May. The subject is ideal for Christy’s wonderful bright loose style. She turns them into little gems.

I enjoyed painting this one so much that I’ve decided to do a series of them for Running With Brushes. Another one tomorrow, perhaps.

Watercolour Flower Painting: Anemone Pair

watercolour flower painting: Anemone Pair (watercolour 10 x 15 cm) Artist: Vandy Massey
Anemone Pair (watercolour 10 x 15 cm)

Another watercolour flower painting with a slightly different treatment in the finishing off. I love the lush greenness of the background. I have anemones in my garden which is packed full of plants. This has the same sort of feeling as those flowerbeds which are just jammed with blossoms and leaves as my Japanese anemones come into bloom.

This painting is Day 9 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days, and it’s also available on the Running with Brushes website.

Another post about Watercolour Flower Painting:

Day 8: Beyond the Farm Gates

Beyond the Farm Gate (watercolour 10 x 15 cm) Artist: Vandy Massey
Beyond the Farm Gate (watercolour 10 x 15 cm)

This one and tomorrow’s paintings were pre-done over the weekend so that I could just pop them up the blog. This is the opposite to yesterday’s painting. I like working in opposing moody, so to counter the speed and energy of yesterday’s dynamic painting, this on is quiet and misty and makes you wonder what really is beyond the old farm gates.

Day 8 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days is going on sale on the Running With Brushes website.

Day 6: Budding

Budding (watercolour 10 x 15 cm) Artist: Vandy Massey
Budding (watercolour 10 x 15 cm)

I took the opportunity in the last 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, to paint a load of small paintings for Running With Brushes. This time I’m doing a mix of small paintings for the project, and some larger ones. I need to be sure that I have fresh work available for my Open Studios sessions in April and July so I’m getting a head start on that now, and the challenge is a great way to get started.

This week I have three small paintings for Running With Brushes. I’ve pre-painted a couple because I’m back to doing my midweek London trips again as from Tuesday which means no painting for at least 3 days a week. So here’s one of the small ones. It’s called Budding and it will be available to buy in support of Care for Casualties.

Peachy Layers

Just Peachy (watercolour 6 x 4 inches)
Just Peachy (watercolour 6 x 4 inches)

Running With Brushes has been a great way of getting me painting regularly. Sometimes it takes a while to think of a good subject (despite the fact that I now have a long list of ideas pasted up on my studio wall).

When I get a request for a specific subject, it makes this part of the process a lot easier. And it’s great to know that someone really wants a Running WIth Brushes painting before it even gets painted.  Just Peachy was a request I was very happy to fulfill. Painting a specific subject more than once is a good way of trying a new composition, or new texture on that subject.

The original painting this was based on was, Juicy, painted in August. A change in composition gave me the opportunity to paint the fruit on a slightly larger scale. Using transparent colours and layers enabled me to get the smooth transition of yellow to warm red, and the velvety texture of the peach skin. It wasn’t a quick process: the layers needed to be carefully built up, leaving each successive layer to dry in between. But the results are quite effective, and I’m pleased I’ve had the nudge to revisit this subject once again.

Team Lenk

Abstracting the Landscape (watercolour 28 x 38 cm)
Purple Hills (watercolour 28 x 38 cm)

Earlier this year, I met Suzie Rice. She mentioned a family in her area who were having a really tough time. Their 14 year son had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Since February, Tristan has received 7 courses of chemotherapy, 18 blood transfusions and more. Needless to say, his family are all pulling together and supporting him so, as in many cases, Tristan’s illness has an impact on others around him.

Suzie told me that despite all this hardship, Tristan has spent his spare time raising funds for cancer research and has managed to raise over £3000 so far. Go Tristan!

If that’s not inspiring enough, the local community has come together to fundraise for Tristan and his family. They think that after 109 days in hospital, and the incredible energy Tristan has put into fund raising, he and the family deserve a treat. Team Lenk has been formed with the purpose of raising enough money to send the family on a holiday. They’re holding an auction of promises evening on Saturday 9th November as their first event. Bidding is open on their website for the auction and the list of auction lots can be viewed here

Although I won’t be able to be at the auction, I’ve donated a painting to their raffle. I offered Suzie a choice of three paintings and she selected Purple Hills. I’m very pleased to be able to support Team Lenk in this small way.  It’s wonderful when a community comes together to support a cause that’s close to their hearts. And even more so, when the focus of their fundraising are so inspiring.

I’m sure the Lenk holiday initiative will be successful and that the family will be able to enjoy a wonderful much-deserved time together as a result of Team Lenk’s efforts.

Beefsteak Tomato. (Day 30 – Made it!)

RWB0064 Beefsteak Tomato
Beefsteak Tomato (watercolour 6 x 4 inches)

This year we planted three different varieties of tomatoes in grow bags in the garden. I typically have very little success growing tomatoes. In most years I watch every other gardener harvesting enough tomatoes to make a freezer full of soup, ragu and tomato concentrate. And at the same time, we manage to pick a very small handful of undersizes, overripe, pea-sized specimens – over the entire summer.

For a change, this time our beefsteak tomatoes thrived. In celebration of reaching day 30 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days (even if in fits and starts), I painted our magnificent first picked, beefsteak tomato.

30 Paintings in 30 Days has been a fabulous experience. It’s been a great motivation to paint regularly, and has helped stock up Running With Brushes beautifully, just in time for Christmas.

Beefsteak Tomato is my 30th in the challenge and my 64th painting for Running With Brushes.

And I’ve got a whole 7 minutes to got for #PaintSeptember.

Fractals and Fissures (29 of 30)

RWB0063 Fractals and Fissures

My experimental journey continued into painting 29 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days. It started with a trial of acrylic inks which created wonderful fractals when water was applied. Once that was properly dried, I added a layer of phtalo turquoise watercolour and let it emphasise the textures in the painting.  The orange ink had a sort of molten lava look about it, which inspired the theme of fissures running down through layers of rock.

Only one more to go. Here’s the second last one on RWB.